de Badass Bunny, Mar�o 30, 2024
41

INTRODUCTION

Bullying is a term many of us are familiar with, but we cannot always prevent it. Whether we witnessed it or were directly the victims of such violence against humans, we all know what the term “bullying” means. Tied with a negative aura around the word, the whole world struggles with this phenomenon to the point where we not only have anti-bullying programs but also cinematography which directly tells stories of fictional characters that go through such things. One might be asking why there are so many TV series and movies on this topic, but we can all agree that it is probably because the scriptwriters want to speak to a larger audience about this very serious topic, which shouldn’t be taken lightly.

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at TV series and movies that talk about school bullying and the effects of it.

BETTER DAYS

The film revolves around a girl who is being bullied at school and her relationship with a tough street kid, with whom she is implicated in the murder of a teenage girl.

Adapted from the web novel "The Youthful You Who Was So Beautiful" (少年的你,如此美丽) by Jiu Yue Xi (玖月晞).
If you look at MDL’s list of top-rated movies, this movie is, as of 2024, still the highest-rated movie of all time, and for a very good reason. The movie shows the absolute rawness of bullying, the effects it has on other people than the victim, and how the victims deal with the immense pain they are forced to go through. 

I know that many people might be triggered by this movie, but I still recommend this movie to everyone because watching it is truly a unique experience. The dialogue is very blunt and on point, and character development is subtle but powerful. The movie has a nice flow, and the retrospective adds a nice touch to it.


THE GLORY S1 & 2

A high school student dreams of becoming an architect. However, she had to drop out of school after suffering from brutal school violence. Years later, the perpetrator gets married and has a kid. Once the kid is in elementary school, the former victim becomes her homeroom teacher and starts her thorough revenge towards the perpetrators and bystanders of her bullying days.
The most talked-about TV series of 2022—at least this is how most people describe this series, which had a great impact not only domestically among South Koreans but also globally. This series, just like the movie Better Days, focuses on school bullying, but the difference between the two stories is evident in the storytelling. The Glory’s plot focuses on the aftermath of bullying and how the effects of bullying don’t end with graduation. No, this series shows that the effects of bullying continue even after graduation and can greatly affect the future of individuals. 

While many people focus on the revenge part of the story, because indeed, it is marketed as a revenge story, when I watched it, I focused on how the bullying affected the victim mentally and the mental changes the victim, our main heroine, went through as she moved forward in her life.


WEAK HERO CLASS 1

Yeon Shi Eun is a model student who ranks at the top of his high school. Physically, Yeon Shi Eun appears weak, but by using his wits and psychology, he fights against the violence that takes place inside and outside of his school.

Adapted from the webtoon “Weak Hero” (약한영웅) written by SeoPass (서패스) and illustrated by Kim Jin Seok (김진석).
Who said that bullying victims are always shy, scared, and afraid to take action? I think in older productions, the scriptwriters focused on portraying the victims as hopeless and very stoic in terms of their situation, but nowadays the TV series and movies focus on how reality sometimes looks different. Yes, not all victims stand up and fight for themselves, but some do, and it is important to show that to other people as well. While some may take series and movies as something fictional and something that doesn’t give the audience anything valuable, I think otherwise. A lot of times, series and movies teach us good life lessons that we can implement in our daily lives. This series focused on how to stand up for yourself and fight back, because fighting back doesn’t turn the victims into bad people; it turns them into strong individuals.


NIGHT FLIGHT

Yong Ju, Gi Woong, and Gi Taek used to be close friends until Gi Woong abandoned them. Now, Gi Woong is the leader of the school gang, and Gi Taek is his biggest victim. Nonetheless, Yong Ju is desperate to hold onto Gi Woong in any way that he can, and Gi Woong resists him with all his might. 

Tied down by the constraints of high school and society's expectations, what at first appears as a fight between three boys is actually a story of the internal battles that teenagers fight against themselves.
As the years flow forward, the era slowly changes as well. In the past, we had very few TV series or movies showing people of different sexualities. Nowadays, more and more movies and TV series are coming out focusing on different sexualities. While, as a proud bisexual, I am happy about it, I cannot help but think that oftentimes the stories that are given to us portray a “fairytale” like society, where liking the same sex is not frowned upon. The reason why I included this South Korean movie is very simple and straightforward—it shows how gay people are often treated. No, not all schools are this close-minded, but we all know how Asia is still iffy with this topic, so we probably encounter more disapproval than acceptance. This movie shows the raw hatred and the lengths someone goes to show their hatred towards LGBT+ people.

I highly recommend this to all people who want to see a different side to the regular LGBT+ love stories that are coming out so frequently. Before watching, I advise you to look at the tags because this movie can be triggering for some people.


BRAVE CITIZEN

The story of hero So Si Min, who once ruled the nation with her top-tier hapkido skills as a high school athlete. Seven years later, after becoming a part-time teacher, So Si Min finds herself the target of the evil student Han Soo Kang.

Adapted from the webtoon by Kim Jung Hyun.
This is a fairly new South Korean movie that has many big stars listed on the cast list. Described as an action-comedy, one might think that no valuable lesson can be taught with this movie, but once again, I have a different opinion. This movie perfectly shows that money and high social status can give you a "pass,"  which once again proves that money truly rules the world. Some might think that it’s not realistic—that a rich student does get punished if they cheat or bully other classmates—but reality is more like this movie shows. When you have money, every problem of yours disappears. I was naive as well when I was a child and thought that bad people get punished no matter what, but then came my mom, who is a teacher, and told me that she was fired because she wouldn’t let a rich student pass his final exams, and that she refused the bribe from the said student’s family. Such situations do exist, and such students do exist, and this movie is a great reminder of that. I admit, the way the movie dealt with bullying and the whole “rich privilege” plot was far-fetched, but we can all agree that we would want such a heroine in our lives.


MY ID IS GANGNAM BEAUTY

This series tells the story of Kang Mi Rae, a girl once bullied for her looks. As a result, she became insecure, cautious around people and withdrawn. However, Mi Rae decides she wants a fresh start away from bullying and gets plastic surgery to transform her face. When she begins university, she meets Do Kyung Suk from their middle school days, who sees people for what they are on the inside and not the outside; he then becomes attracted to Kang Mi Rae.

As Mi Rae begins to get teased once more and labeled "Gangnam Beauty", the cold, aloof but kind inside Kyung Suk becomes the one person that stands up for her and in the process, Mi Rae begins to recover her lost confidence and discovers that true beauty is not on the outside.

Adapted from the webtoon “My ID is Gangnam Beauty” (내 ID는 강남미인!) by Gi Maeng Gi (기맹기).
While we talked about all kinds of bullying, it is important to mention a reason why so many bullying cases happen: looks. Yes, indeed, some people just love to bully other people because of their looks. I, myself, was subject to this kind of bullying, and I deal with it to this day because my self-esteem is in negative numbers. Even though this TV series is marketed as a romantic comedy, it sheds some light on this type of bullying. I absolutely love that they showed us that plastic surgery doesn’t always solve things. Even though someone changes their appearance and improves it, the emotional scars are left behind, and people may still carry them even after the alternation. This TV series perfectly describes the self-esteem issues during the bullying and afterwards as well.


SHARK: THE BEGINNING

Cha Woo Sol, a victim of school violence who was imprisoned in a boys' prison due to an unexpected incident, meets mixed martial arts champion Jung Do Hyun and breaks his limits one by one.

Adapted from the webtoon "Shark" (샤크) written by Woon (운) and illustrated by Kim Woo Sub (김우섭).
A movie that many people simply pass over or have never heard of—that’s my description of this masterpiece. Starring two absolutely phenomenal actors as leads, Kim Min Seok and Wi Ha Joon, this movie once again talks about the aftermath of bullying and the effects it has on victims. Just like with Weak Hero Class 1, this movie is about fighting for one’s own self and changing one's attitude towards bullying. From someone hopeless to someone who has gained hope and is fighting not only for themselves but for others as well. Not to mention, this movie also shows the privilege of rich people.



CONCLUSION

With these movies and TV series, I am wrapping up this article, even though I have listed an uneven number of projects. I know that at this age we have many more stories of bullying, but I have listed only those that had a very big effect on me personally and it would be great if other people paid attention to them as well.

Personally, I am very pleased that more and more scriptwriters are using their pens to write down the stories of the victims of this atrocious act. On the other hand, it is kind of sad that people need a TV series or a movie as a wake-up call to take action against such violence, like South Korea with the TV series “The Glory." Why were the numerous cases of suicide due to this phenomenon not enough of a wake-up call for such a large society?

I am well aware that this list mostly talks about South Korean productions, so please, if you know of other countries that have movies or TV series with this kind of main topic, do let me know in the comments so I can check them out.


Credits: All gifs & images are linked to their sources.

Edited by: devitto (1st editor)


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